Stoughton could clinch Oly trials spot

TED WYMAN -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 7:47 AM ET

ST. JOHN'S -- The chief engineer of the Boehmer Express figures things have evened out a little. Petersfield's Dave Boehmer made headlines by taking an overnight train from Prince Albert, Sask., to make it home for the MCA bonspiel and after defaulting his first six games, running off 17 straight wins to qualify for the Safeway Select. But he has rarely been near a curling rink since the Manitoba provincial championship ended on Feb. 15.

Boehmer is competing in the Grand Slam's Players Championship here this week and is off to a 2-1 record despite having to shake off some rust.

"We played two club games in between," Boehmer said after a 6-4 loss to Ralph Stockli of Switzerland last night at Mile One Stadium.

EVENS OUT IN THE END

"So in a month and a half we played two games compared to the 34 games we played in 22 days through the Grand Slam (National) the MCA and the Select. It all evened out in the end, I guess."

Winnipeg's Jeff Stoughton is closing in on a playoff berth already after winning his third straight game 7-3 over John Morris of Calgary yesterday.

Stoughton plays Jamie King of Edmonton and Boehmer today. Stoughton's foursome, which leads the Canadian Team Ranking System standings with 124.5 points, can clinch a berth in the 2005 Olympic trials today if his nearest competitor Wayne Middaugh loses one of his two games. Middaugh is 1-2.

Winnipeg's Kerry Burtnyk stayed in contention for a playoff berth last night with a 7-3 win over Glenn Howard of Coldwater, Ont. Burtnyk, who lost 9-8 to Glen Despins of Regina yesterday afternoon, is now 2-2 and can get into a tiebreaker situation with a win today against Guy Hemmings of St. Aime, Que., who is also 2-2.

"It was do or die against Howard so that was a big win for us," Burtnyk said. "It gives us a chance at least."

CHARMED LIFE: Hometown favourite Brad Gushue improved to 2-1 yesterday with his second straight improbable victory.

Gushue, who won 7-6 over Stockli on Wednesday after his opponent wrecked on a relatively easy takeout attempt, got another break yesterday when the sweepers for Jamie King of Edmonton burned the skip's last rock in the 10th end about halfway down sheet.

King, who had last rock, just needed to find the full eight-foot for the victory but gave up a steal and lost 5-4. The brooms of Aaron Skillen and Ryan Keane locked and stopped King's last rock dead.

The crowd pleaser of the day was St. John's native Mark Noseworthy, who made some great shots to beat both Middaugh and Kevin Martin to improve to 2-1.


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